14 Mar 2012

university: lecture notes

This is the first in a series about university, organisation and everything else. Any specific requests for blog posts, please do email me or let me know via a comment (as I read all comments!).

This one is on: lecture notes: what to do with them, how to utilise them to the full and why they are useful.

So, first question: what do we do with them and why are they useful?

Well, at my university, they ply us with bucketloads of information in every single lecture. They expect us to be able to take in more at a faster rate than at other universities and as a result, some of my lecture notes can be quite thick (even though I print six slides to a single side of A4!). They are useful because they give you somewhere to start with regards to learning more about a topic. Although they are already very much in depth, one can still do a bit more by seeking out papers in relation to the topic and reading them to gain further insight and a deeper level of understanding.

So, what to do with them? Well, I always make sure I have them printed in time for a lecture (some subjects at my university don't supply lecture notes that have already been printed and mine just so happens to be one of these subjects) and then I bring them along. I also use a voice recorder in case I miss anything, and I find that revising whilst listening to the lecturer also helps me take in the stuff easier.

Here is a sample of a side of lecture notes (from my most recent module of Neuroscience):





As you can see, I annotate the slides as appropriate with information that I deem important. This could be something a lecturer said during the actual lecture or something from outside reading.

Now that we've established why they are important, we can see how to use them to the full.

After a lecture, I will write up the notes along with any extra reading I have encountered. This then makes my notes look like this:



or like this (for a different lecture)...



And then, I will do further reading through papers (from a different topic within the module):



This is it for the first part of this series on lecture notes. The next part will be on assignments and balancing your social life with university work.

16 comments

  1. Great helpful post :)
    You're notes are very organised!
    freebird.

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    1. Thank you! Glad you find these helpful :-) x

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  2. I really enjoy your blog, just found it a month ago and I have quite enjoyed reading your post. This post was extremely helpful and you are so organized that it makes me want to reorganize myself as well. I really enjoy your post about school, notes and how you keep yourself organized. Keep it up :)

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    1. Thank you for such a kind comment! x

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  3. I really wish i'd seen this earlier on in my course! thanks for the helpful tips, i'll keep them bookmarked! <3

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    1. Glad you find these useful :-) x

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  4. Hello! I was wondering how long it normally takes you to rewrite all the lecture notes? I just tried this method today, and it took me more than two hours to write six pages haha. I was wondering if you had a trick or something that made it faster. And thank you for all these university tips! (: I'm currently a freshman in uni and these are extremely helpful! :D

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    1. It takes me about 2-3 hours for each 1 hour lecture as I also record them on a voice recorder and thus, listen to the recording whilst writing it out :-)

      I've not yet figured out a way to make it quicker but I find that this is the most productive way to ensure everything is written down and also the best way to figure out gaps in knowledge about the subject :-) x

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    2. Hey, Angela! I just found your blog, and it is amazing! Your study skills are impressive! I was wondering though, what kind of voice recorder do you use?

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    3. Heya, I use a Sony one... Which exact model, I'm not sure as I've packed it away somewhere. It looks a lot like this one: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sony-ICD-PX312-Digital-voice-recorder/dp/B004SO9604/ref=sr_1_1?s=officeproduct&ie=UTF8&qid=1335273893&sr=1-1 but the edges aren't so round on mine :)

      Hope this helps and thank you for the compliments :)

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  5. LOOOOVEEEEE your blog. Curious about what pens you use to take your notes?? I'm so particular about my writing tools but those pens seem to write beautifully!

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    1. Heya, thank you :)

      The pen I used here is the Muji gel pen, 0.5mm nib :) I absolutely love these pens though they're starting to cost me a fortune so I've taken to buying the refills at the moment instead :)

      Hope this helps x

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  6. Hello! I was wondering whether you rewrite your notes for all of your subjects? I find it takes a long time especially with all of the slides on the powerpoints, so how do you manage that? Also, your notes are so beautiful! Could you do a post on how you colour code them? :)

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    1. Hi, I rewrote notes for every single lecture in every single module. I know it takes time but when I go through the lecture notes and slides, I see what I already knew and I miss those points off - or write them in a more succinct manner. I only had two, maximum three lectures a day so it wasn't too time consuming for me (they were one hour each).

      There is no colour coding scheme! I just choose whatever colour would make the notes more appealing to the eye - and therefore, more of a pleasure to revise from :)

      Hope this helps! x

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  7. Hey this is exactly how I organise my work. Only difference is am in college. It is such a helpful way of getting all the information into your head. Hopefully will do the same next year in uni. Thank you. I love reading your blogs

    Sarah

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    1. Hello! Thank you for the kind comment :-) Glad to hear that your notes are working for you :) x

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